An on-going blog to create debate and perhaps raise some awkward questions on the seven subjects discussed in Jon Steel’s video.
Topic 6. “Planners should schedule fictitious meetings to escape and find inspiration”
Not a bad idea, particularly in open-plan office environments where the general hubbub and cross-cube banter can be distracting, but is it really necessary to schedule a fictitious meeting?
Might be interpreted as sneaky to make yourself unavailable, particularly if one of your accounts has a sudden crisis and you’re nowhere to be found. And no-one wants a reputation for skiving off in order to catch up with texts or to update your Facebook page.
On the other hand, getting “stuck” and wanting to get “unstuck” is a common affliction for which a healthy dose of inspiration can be helpful.
So here are some alternatives to scheduling fictitious meetings when you need inspiration:
- Browse Wikipedia for an hour. Start with something obscure like “existentialism” and follow whatever links that intrigue you.
- Do a group “excursion” exercise from the synectics program that I teach: Pick a random topic (e.g. beaches, computers, religion, etc.) and generate a word list of associations (e.g. for beaches: sand, starfish, rocks, tanning oil, umbrellas, etc.) and then try to create a connection between each word and your brand. Challenging but great for getting the brain to wake up and spark ideas.
- Read one of the IPA Advertising Works (Adworks) books if you get the chance. (Pity they cost about $200 each and it seems books 1-11 are out of print. Much better to read than case studies from The Effies which are much more superficial by comparison in my opinion). And on this last point, it’s not just about absorbing the concentrated wisdom; it’s also about leveraging insights and inspiration from other market categories and applying it to your own. Does anyone remember the great billboard ad from car maker Citroën a few years back? Advertising its innovative suspension system, the car is shown driving across a giant ironing board with the line, “Irons Out Stubborn Creases”.Which is another example of my favorite definition of creativity: Merging two previously un-merged ideas.
These are just three examples – any others you’d like to share?